Christian Atsu: Ghana FA reach out as Newcastle 'pray' for ex-star after Turkey quake

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) have reached out to their players in Turkey amid concerns over the wellbeing of former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu, who is said to be unaccounted for after the recent large earthquake in the country. Search and rescue teams are currently on the lookout for the winger and Hatayspor sporting director Taner Savut after a 7.8-magnitude quake struck parts of Turkey and Syria in the early hours of Monday morning.

A second 7.5-magnitude tremor went on to hit the same area later on Monday, with both disasters leaving around 2,600 people dead and many others stuck in rubble underneath collapsed buildings. Atsu, who scored an injury-time winner for Hatayspor against Kasimpasa on Sunday evening, is reportedly yet to be found and concerns are growing for the welfare of the 31-year-old as the hours go by.

The GFA have since released an official statement in which they insisted that they are trying to establish contact with Hatayspor and officials in Turkey in the hope that Atsu will eventually be found. The statement read: “We pray for Ghana International Christian Atsu and victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

“We continue with our efforts to establish contact with officials of Hatayspor and the Turkish Football Federation, considering the difficult situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Christian Atsu and our brothers and sisters in Turkey and Syria. We remain hopeful for positive news.”

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The GFA have been contacting all Ghanaian footballers playing in Turkey in Syria to check on their safety over the last few hours as they await further news on Atsu’s wellbeing, which is yet to be officially confirmed. Newcastle have also said that they are waiting for an update on their former player with a tweet posted by their official account, which reads: “Praying for some positive news,” followed by two heart emojis.

Atsu, who has 65 caps for Ghana, spent the majority of his club career in England after joining Chelsea in the summer of 2013. He struggled to break into the first-team setup at Stamford Bridge and was loaned to a number of sides including Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle before signing for the Magpies on a permanent basis in 2017.


He went on to make over a century of appearances for Newcastle during a four-year period before joining Saudi outfit Al-Raed, where he spent another year prior to signing for Hatayspor on a free transfer. Atsu has since played four games for his new club and scored his first goal on Sunday night to help them to a dramatic late victory over Kasimpasa.

All sporting events in Turkey have been cancelled in light of the earthquakes, which have left many regions devastated and were also felt in Lebanon, Cyprus and Israel. The death toll is expected to rise over the coming hours and days as rescue teams continue to sift through the rubble, with Turkey having declared a state of national emergency as a result of the quakes.

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